Everyone has Worth

It is graduation 2016, and we reflect on the significance of this culminating event.  This year, I am reminded of the gifts of knowing, learning, and becoming.  I am reminded of our College values.  Following is something I sent to recent program graduates:

Dear 2016 graduates,

We have spent tremendous time in one another’s company over the past number of years, in courses ranging from Accounting 1 to Payroll, Tax, and Managerial Accounting, and covering topics from basic debits and credits to complex statistical regression analysis.  You have mastered the technical and employability skills so necessary for your success in this field.  Yet, my wishes for you extend far beyond the campus and employment settings.

Do you recall when we discussed the difference between cost and price?  But how about worth?  This is not another accounting lesson, but a parallel to your lives and futures.  It is about one of our most important NWTC values:  Everyone has worth.  Know that each of you is inherently valuable and uniquely significant:  Linda’s good nature, Martha’s tenacity, Becky’s positive, quiet leadership, Sergio’s witty antics, Tanya’s no-nonsense style, Tracy’s gentle spirit, Patrick’s offbeat quirkiness, Nancy’s patience and care, and Jen’s beautiful smile and kind heart.

Transcending academics, maybe the most important knowing is knowing who you are; knowing your identity.  And maybe the most important learning is learning to honor your own merit in the choices you make and people with whom you surround yourselves.  And maybe your most important job is to discover your own humanity; your ability to love and be loved, in respecting others’ humanity.

I hope you value yourselves enough to intuitively protect your humanity and guard your consciousness.  I hope you respect yourselves enough to allow close to you only those who genuinely regard your self-worth and emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.  And, I hope you are able to embrace the divine worth of yourselves and others in all that you do.

I know I have had the complete privilege of teaching your classes, but I have also learned so much from you.  Thank you for lifting me up this past year and for making my job so very rewarding.

Take good care, and look after yourselves . . . you’re worth it!

Improving Professional Communication

A lack of understanding and/or awareness of what professional communication is, and how big of an impact it can have in a professional environment is an area of focus the classroom. One strategy that has been used is to create groups of students after identifying stronger communicators and weaker communicators to help with a peer critique of a presentation. This can be determined through classroom observations, and early project rubric scores. Each group is given criteria that must be followed when the other person is presenting their project. This way the feedback is directed in a manner that focuses on what proper communication needs to be in this setting. Communicators that are strong can point out what the weaker student is doing well or what they need to improve on. Once the weaker student needs to offer feedback to the stronger student they are focused on watching for those positive communication traits. This causes positive communication to be reinforced twice by the critique of their presentation and then watching it applied in the other student’s presentation. Challenges arise when students do not want or feel compelled to improve their communication to the expectations that are outlined in the rubric for assignments. There are times where the students that are grouped together do not mesh, and groups need to be reconfigured the next time the exercise is used in class. By tracking scores on project rubrics through the course of the semester we are able to determine which students have made the improvements, and which ones are still struggling with their communication efforts.

Amp up Employability Skills with Service Learning

Marinette VITA Volunteers

VITA Service Learning Project Volunteers – Marinette Campus

Would your students benefit from further developing their non-technical skills so critical for successful employment? Consider the role service learning could play in fostering these important virtues! Continue reading

The Dirty Job of Writing Curriculum

WorkYour hands may not get dirty, but your brain will get a workout!  Here are a few tips for creating a stellar Course Outcome Summary in WIDS (aka above the line documentation or ATL documentation). Continue reading

Assessing Core Abilities in Automation 3, 4 and 5

How can you assess core abilities in Automation classes?  How do you get quantative data when assessing “soft” skills?  The task needs to be relevant and include a mix of  technical and non-technical skills.  So, in week 4, students write and facilitate the solution to their own final review questions.  Continue reading